The S.H.E.D. Group

by Faith Richardson

S.H.E.D Group (Self Help Edible Division) meetings take place on the first Wednesday of the month, in Community Hall on Melrose Road, at 1500 – 1630 hrs (3.00 – 4.30 pm). NO registration fee or paperwork. Small donation for refreshment. Call Faith or Adrian for further details 01206 381966.

 Self – Help:

gardeners encouraging gardeners to grow and flourish, to enjoy planting and harvesting their own edible produce; to share one’s over-abundance of seedlings “How many leeks did you think we’d need?”; to laugh at weird shaped veggies; to learn about pruning and taking cuttings; to share experiences.


to grow what we can eat. The focus is on edible produce, not inedible shrubs or pretty bedding plants (although cuttings of lovely inedibles seem to be welcome).


a cutting of Mersea Island Horticultural Society; they encouraged us to start up.

Shedder :

one of SHED’s 30 or so members – never happier than when quietly contemplating where to plant out baby runner beans or peas this year, or determining how close together one can put sweetcorn before the plants are compromised, or making compost. Him or Her outdoors. Wellies and holey smock and holey jeans, sunburnt nose, happy as a pig in … compost.

SHED ramblings:

samples of our monthly discussions and comments follow:

“How deep did Monty say garlic had to be – my packet says something different.” Monty Don is often used as a yardstick

In February, one has to pollinate the baby apricot tree by tickling the blossom with a paint brush; you can even buzz quietly whilst doing it.

Broad beans often get planted in late autumn and some people have lost their seed – the little hole beside each planting space might indicate mice or bigger? David C’s theory: Perhaps they did not dip the seed in paraffin before planting.

Why did last year’s tomatoes fail and what happened to the black currants in the heat? The birds ate them! The early raspberries were brilliant and we’ve got bags in the freezer to prove it, and the gooseberries were pretty good as well.

Courgettes were amazing – did anyone get yellow courgettes with green ends? Cross pollination does occur and the result can be quite artistic.

We’ve still got frilly lettuce under cloches which survived the minus degrees and heavy frost in late autumn, the romanescu is lovely, but the sprouts are tiny, yet tasty.

SHED field trips:

we take it in turns to meet in each other’s gardens during the hot months. Everyone’s garden has something of interest.

SHED tastings:

We’ve had chutney, and cakes – wonderful cakes. We had parsnip cake at the last meeting. Bit like carrot cake, really… and upside-down apple cake. Heaven.